My little lady, Lillian, is a fruitarian. She lives on fruit (and pretty much anything else sweet or sugary…maybe that’s why she’s so sweet ;). Fruit is her drug of choice. A pint of blueberries will be devoured in one sitting and an entire bowl of tangerines will vanish in a day if I don’t keep a watchful eye. But probably her favorite of all, the thing she will literally steal right off your plate (even as you’re watching her) is watermelon. She honestly just can’t help herself.
So needless to say, watermelon seemed to be a staple in our house this summer. We had watermelon fruit kabobs, watermelon cocktails for the adults, and probably our family favorite watermelon granita.
If you’re not familiar with granita, I like to think of it as the cross between shaved ice and a snow cone. You can make a granita with all sort of flavors, but this one is particularly delicious. I paired the sweet fruity watermelon flavors with the crisp tang of lime and added julienned mint. It’s not overly sweet, is incredibly refreshing and will have you licking the spoon to get every last drop.
If you have little ones, this is a great recipe to let them help out with. I like to cut a whole watermelon in half and then give the kids melon ballers to scoop out the inside with. I can’t say it’s the most efficient way to cut a watermelon – but it’s at least a good five minutes of pure entertainment for my little ones. (you just may want to take it outside 😉
This recipe only requires a few ingredients and honestly just a few minutes. I found that we had the best results when we blended up the watermelon in our Vitamix (or any other high speed blender/food processor will work). But make sure you get it blended really well. I also like to strain the juice. I know it’s an extra step, but it really helps to create a more vibrant and clear color. I just poured the watermelon juice through a strainer directly into the dish I used to freeze the granita.
This recipe also calls for some simple syrup. If you ever make iced coffees at home, having simple syrup in your fridge is such a nice treat. It’s just equal parts sugar and water, heated over the stove until the sugar dissolves. Then store in a glass container in your fridge for up to a month.
Making the granita is as simple as pureeing the watermelon, straining the juice, adding some simple syrup and lime, and freezing. Once you notice the granita starts to freeze and a crust forms on top (about an hour), use a fork to “scrape” the ice making sure to get all the corners and edges. Then return it to the freezer for another hour before scraping the ice again. Once you’re ready to serve, let the granita warm up just a little bit (it actually tastes better when it’s “melting” a little versus frozen rock solid….so give it a few minutes to thaw just a tad).
To serve, place a few spoonfuls of granita in a serving dish, garnish with an extra squeeze of lime, some julienned mint and enjoy!
- 6 cups of cubed watermelon
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of water
- 3 limes
- 3-4 sprigs of mint
- In a high speed food processor, add cubed watermelon and carefully blend. Work in batches if you need to.
- Once the watermelon is pureed, strain through a sieve and into a shallow baking dish (both a 9x13 or 8x12 will work).
- To make the simple syrup, add sugar and water in a small pan and slowly begin to cook over low heat. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar isn't sticking to the bottom. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, set aside to cool.
- Add the zest and juice of three limes to the watermelon juice as well as the cooled simple syrup. Stir gently to combine (trying to not create any air bubbles).
- Carefully place the baking dish on a level surface in the freezer. Wait at least one hour before removing the baking dish and "scraping" the ice. Return to the freezer for an additional hour and scrape again.
- When ready to serve, all the granita to thaw for 5 minutes before scooping into serving dishes. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and julienned mint.